A little kindness can go a long way: A compliment here, a favor there, and you brighten someone’s day. Kindness is easy, and below, you’ll find some simple ways to spread it here at Brown.
1. Compliment strangers
If you’ve ever had anyone tell you your sweater is cute or your hair looks good, you know the uplifting effect a compliment can have. Try to pay three compliments a day and you’ll notice it makes you feel just as good as if you were receiving them.
The other day, I told a girl on the Quiet Green that her Halloween costume was adorable and she looked so happy. It took me only a few seconds to give her an additional boost of confidence.
2. Offer to take people’s pictures
Families are always visiting Brown and taking pictures because, well, it’s Brown. There’s usually one family member delegated to taking the photo rather than being in it.
A couple times a week, I go up to people on the Main Green and ask if they’d like me to take a picture of them all together. Everyone is happy, especially the photographer, and you get to be responsible for that family's lasting memory.
3. Get to know the campus staffers
The dining hall, mailroom, and the janitorial staff are all people that every Brown student interacts with but may never take the time to know.
Take it from me: I learned the name of every V-Dub worker last year and coming to eat was always like coming home. Jean and Jo always wave hi from behind the taco station; Mo and Alan wave from the grill. Frieda gives me a hug and chats with me about classes. Octavia and Amanda always greet me with a smile and Maria always makes sure I have the food I want.
4. Send spontaneous texts
Every day, I choose one friend to check in on. I’ll send a text like “how are you today?” or “how was your weekend?” Not only does it help me maintain friendships, but it also makes the recipient feel loved and cared for.
A week or so ago, I texted a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a year to wish her a happy birthday. The last text we’d exchanged was her wishing me happy birthday: a little bit ironic, I know. But from there, we struck up a conversation about our college experiences and how our lives have changed and everything in between. A simple “Happy Birthday” rekindled a friendship.
5. Social media responses
Commenting on an Instagram post or a TikTok video is an easy, almost-effortless way to bring a little kindness to a space that can be so consistently negative. The internet is full of trolls that tear people down. Counteract the negativity with a compliment or supportive comment. It’ll go a long way.
As someone active on social media (and a little embarrassed to admit that), when I see a compliment in my comments, I focus on that. The mean comments about my appearance, my voice, my thoughts—those all fade away. I remember the goodness in the world instead, and isn’t that one of the best feelings?